Printing Colons To Web From Notes Agent? Beware!

On of my many, many tasks today is to enable the output of a Notes-based view as an iCalendar (.ics) file, so uses can import it to the own calendar application.

To do this is simple. Just print the content-type "text/calendar" from the outputting agent and then print out all the entries in the required format.

I wrote the code to do this in very little time but then spent just as long wondering why on earth the content wasn't being outputted.

Then I realised what I'd done. Remember a couple of years ago I mentioned a way to print data to the content headers of a page? Inadvertently, that is what I had done.

Here's what my code looked like (simplified to prove a point):

Print "content-type: text/calendar"
Print "DTSTART;VALUE=DATE:20090909"

When I opened it in the browser all that was in the file downloaded was:


After a maddening ten minutes or so I realised that all the lines after the content-type header were also being treated as headers. Firstly because they are in the format "XXX: yyyyy" i.e. a word followed by a colon. Secondly because I hadn't put a blank line between the header and the output. My code should (and does now) have looked like this:

Print "content-type: text/calendar"
Print ""
Print "DTSTART;VALUE=DATE:20090909"

There's a lesson in there somewhere!

iCalendar Format??

Didn't know you could export in a standard calendar format? Well, you can. Here's an example file which is based on this standard.

To output your Notes-stored dates in the right format you can do this:

Print "CREATED:"+Format(doc.Created, "yyyymmddThhMM00")

Although you might need to modify that if you want it accurate to the second or you're in a different timezone to GMT etc.


  1. Great post Jake!

    I've toyed with the idea of creating a sync widget for the Lotus Notes Client that would allow push/pull of calendar entries to Google Calender via iCalendar and the Google Calendar API. Just a matter of finding the time in the day.

    Perhaps we can suggest it and get it going as an openNTF project!

    • avatar
    • Keith
    • Wed 23 Sep 2009 12:45 PM

    Jake, could you send me a copy of the export agent? It's for personal use only....

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Wed 23 Sep 2009 02:22 PM

    Likewise, if only I had the time Chris.

    It's on its way Keith.

  2. Jake nice hint. An altenative way to generate your ical files is to use a Java agent (or a servlet) which makes things a little easier (unless you are scared of Java, which we all know you are not). Easier because there is a ready made library available that allows you to just fill in the properties and it will take care of all the formatting and stuff for you. Check out:


    and of course you are aware of the calendaring schema documentation


    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Thu 24 Sep 2009 04:00 AM

    Hadn't seen those links Stephan. Thanks. Very useful bookmarks!

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